How to Legally Remove Late Pays on Your Credit Report

By Jennifer Metz

  • Overview

    Many people have late pays on their credit report. You might not realize that late pays can drastically affect your credit score. Credit scores are calculated with a heavy weight on payment histories. If you can remove those late pays off your credit report, you can help raise your credit score. Credit is often checked when you apply for a job or a loan, for insurance reasons and even when you rent an apartment, so it is crucial to keep your score as high as possible.
    • Step 1

      Mail certified letters to all three credit bureaus requesting that they remove the late pays. By law, they have 30 days to verify the information, or they must remove the information. Include a photocopy of your driver's license with the letter to verify your identity. This will also help speed the process up. The credit bureaus can request more time if they feel they need to take additional steps to check your identity. If they are able to verify the item or items in question, wait 30 days and send another certified letter. Sending certified letters is important, as that is your record of receipt from the credit bureaus.
    • Step 2

      Send a goodwill letter directly to the company that lists you as having made a late pay. Ask the company if they will consider removing it from your credit report. Typically, if you are otherwise in good standing with the company, they will remove a late pay for you once or twice. It is worth asking, and it can help you in your quest to raise your credit score.

    • Step 3

      Hire a professional credit repair company to do it for you. You might do this if you lack the time to do it yourself, or are not sure you understand the process. Make sure you research the company to be certain they are reputable. You may also want to contact the Better Business Bureau or attorney general's office in the state in which the company is located to find out if there are any complaints against the company.
    • Step 4

      Check the time limit on the late pay and be sure it is recorded properly. Creditors can make mistakes, as can the credit bureaus. Go through your financial records and make sure the payment was actually late. If the late payment was more than 24 months ago, the credit bureau should wipe it from your recent record. According to, a resource for those to check their credit scores and monitor their FICO scores, credit scores are calculated using the last 2 years, or 24 months, of payment data.
    • Skill: Moderate
    • Ingredients:
    • Credit Reports
    • Envelopes
    • Copies of your Driver's License
    • Tip: Keep detailed records of your efforts to find what works and what doesn't. It will also help you remember when 30 days has passed so you can send another round of certified letters to the credit bureaus.
    • Warning:
    • Research thoroughly any companies you may want to hire to help you.
    • Compare fees that companies may charge you. Some will be flat fee, others may charge monthly.

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